Stories from the Road — I don’t know how to not do this work.

This week, Rabbi Daniel Burg from Beth Am Congregation in Baltimore, reflects on the work of his Reservoir Hill community around racism and environmental justice. Rabbi Burg hosted the cyclists from Philadelphia in 2018. His community created a non-profit, “In For Of, Inc.” in 2013 to deepen relationships between Beth Am and the primarily African American residents of their neighborhood. Listen to Daniel’s reflections:

For 8 years PA IPL has sent cyclists from Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. as a low-carbon way to advocate for our planet and financially support PA IPL. This summer we are telling stories from the road. Join us on social media in August for weekly stories from past participants, engagement in climate justice, and investment in the future of PA. (See how our donation tree is growing and help us meet our $30,000 fundraising goal.)

Other voices from the road: Bill Pike

As a perennial host, Bill Pike has hosted many groups of riders. He is the current president of REACH’s Board of Directors, a Hagerstown organization focused on assisting low income and impoverished families during times of crisis. Read William’s full reflection here.

Take Action: Learn about Environmental Racism

Frontline communities are those that experience the impact of climate disruption first and worst, often because of the concentration of direct pollution from fossil-fuel industries in their neighborhoods; many frontline neighborhoods are also low-lying, flash-flood prone, or are heat islands. Frontline communities are most often low-income and disproportionately made up of people of color. A 2018 EPA report found that Black Americans are three times more likely to die from causes related to pollution than their White counterparts.

Expand the conversation that leads to climate justice by gathering a group to study, discuss and discern response.

  • Learn how a front line community in Philadelphia took on Philadelphia Energy Solutions for damaging the health of their community, in this New York Times Magazine article. Then read this article from State Impact Pennsylvania on the connection between climate change, structural racism and birth issues.
  • Watch. The people of the city of Chester in Delaware County just west of Philadelphia, have been battling environmental racism for decades. Listen to their voices from this 2009 video created by DelCo Alliance for Environmental Justice.  
  • Discover which of the nation’s top 100 toxic polluters are in Pennsylvania, and who lives nearby in this interactive map created as part of Breath to the People: Sacred Air and Toxic Pollution, a report prepared for the United Church of Christ by the Environmental Integrity Project. 
  • Discuss. PA IPL includes a “discussion hook” in each of its Sustained Advocacy call summaries, many of which touch on environmental injustice — or work toward climate justice. (Click through for one example of each.)

Turn to Prayer

Please hold PA IPL and all who are working toward climate justice in your prayers through the week.

In 2019, PA IPL supporters “paved the cyclists’ way with prayer,” submitting original prayers, poems and artwork to express the deep faith that underlies their commitment to climate justice and care. The cyclists shared a compilation of these prayers with elected officials in Washington, as part of their advocacy conversations. Each week we are featuring a different prayer from the collection.

A member of Philadelphia PA IPL contributed this week’s prayer

Save the Date for the Stories from the Road Live Celebration, Sept. 1

On Sep. 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, at 7:00 pm, we’ll gather for a live, zoom-based Stories from the Road Celebration, featuring live music, prayer, storytelling, and a chance to share your own stories of climate work with people throughout the state. 

The event is free with a donation to PA IPL during the Stories from the Road  campaign (June through August). Additional tickets can be purchased for $10. Seating is limited, so donate now!